Bloomsbury Books for Young Readers recently released Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper.
Life has been nothing but unfair to Grace Parkes and her sister. Penniless, the two orphans manage to stay alive - but only barely, like so many on the streets of Victorian London. And Grace must bear a greater heartbreak, having become pregnant from terrible circumstances and then given birth to a stillborn baby.
But the infant's death sets Grace on a new path, bringing her into contact with people who hold both riches and power. A great fraud has been perpetuated on young Grace and her sister, and they are the secret recipients of a most unusual legacy -- if only they can find the means to claim it.
Mr. Parkes had left for America to make his fortune even before Grace was born. The family waited in vain for news. Grace was five when her mother died and left her older sister in her care. The girls had no family to speak of and were forced to move out of their neighborhood. They lost touch with their mother's friends and entered a workhouse.
But life at the workhouse was unbearable and the girls decided to fend for themselves. Renting a room in the notoriously dangerous Seven Dials district, Grace and Lily sell watercress on the streets and struggle to keep their mother's few remaining possessions. Each day's earnings depend on the cost of cress, the state of the roads, and the weather. A string of bad days bring disaster but a stroke of fortune just might save their lives.
Fallen Grace is a gothic mystery set in Dickensian England where two orphaned young girls are left to fend for themselves. But like a Dickens tale, Grace's spirit is not destroyed by the poverty and overwhelming odds. She somehow remains untainted by her surroundings and experiences. The book drew me in - I couldn't put it down until I knew that Grace's fate was secure.
ISBN-10: 1599905647 - Hardcover $16.99
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (February 1, 2011), 320 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
About the Author:
Mary Hooper is a popular writer for children and young adults, best known in the United States for her finely woven historical novels. Mary lives in England. Learn more about her at www.maryhooper.co.uk